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Student Blog: How TodayTix is Safely Bringing Live Theatre Back to NYC

A glimpse into one of the first live and in-person theatre-related events in over a year, organized by TodayTix and featuring Jagged Little Pill’s Lauren Patten.

Student Blog: How TodayTix is Safely Bringing Live Theatre Back to NYC
Front row to see Lauren!

It has been over a year since audience members in New York City have stepped into a packed Broadway theatre. What was initially supposed to be a 2-4 week closure quickly turned into months, and now here we are still faced with a devastating shutdown of the arts and live entertainment sector in the Big Apple. While there is a light at the end of the tunnel as many shows are aiming for a Fall reopening, it is hard to know that it will still be quite a while before Broadway theaters are able to welcome back pre-pandemic sized crowds. So, when I saw that TodayTix would be hosting an outdoor concert series in an effort to reunite artists and audiences as live theatre is slowly re-introduced to New York City, I was ecstatic and immediately bought tickets for the first performance on April 2nd. It sold out in less than an hour so I truly feel so lucky to have been a part of the event - an intimate rooftop solo concert starring Lauren Patten from Jagged Little Pill.

Student Blog: How TodayTix is Safely Bringing Live Theatre Back to NYC
The setup on the rooftop
(also the closest thing I have
seen to a Broadway stage
in over a year)

It is hard to put into words how much the evening meant to me and how special the entire experience was. There was a very tangible and electric energy in the air, and hearing live music again after so many months without the arts is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. Everyone in attendance, myself included, was noticeably teary eyed as we had our tickets scanned and made our way to our seats. Even Lauren, who hadn't performed for an in-person audience since last March, got emotional after her first song and was just so visibly grateful to be singing in front of people rather than a screen. I was giddy with excitement and literally shaking (whether that was also from excitement or just because it was 25 degrees in April, I do not know) but everyone was immensely respectful and almost in a daze. Lauren performed an incredible acoustic set with Eric B Davis, the lead guitarist at Jagged Little Pill, that included some Alanis Morissette songs, a stunning number from Next to Normal, and Ariana Grande"s "God is a Woman," which is my favorite song that she covers with her band!

Student Blog: How TodayTix is Safely Bringing Live Theatre Back to NYC
These super comfy red velvet
chairs made me feel very fancy,
and helped keep us warm
since it was absolutely freezing

What usually makes theatre magical for me is partially the energy within the space and the entire experience as a whole (the crowd, the playbills, the sound signaling that the performance is about to begin, etc) and mostly the show itself, but even without the plot or context of a particular production to become immersed in, I was still so moved by the entire evening. I, like most other people, have tried to identify and appreciate the little things in life these last few months in order to simply survive in a time where it is hard to find things to look forward to and cherish, but the absence of theatre has undoubtedly left a hole in my heart that I have struggled to fill. Hearing one of my favorite performers sing live again was the most fulfilling and joyous thing I have experienced in over a year, and I cannot stress how insanely grateful I am to have been in the audience.

Student Blog: How TodayTix is Safely Bringing Live Theatre Back to NYC
Pre-show shot from
TodayTix's Instagram story!

I felt incredibly safe the whole day and commend everyone at Showfields and TodayTix for working so hard to make this event possible during a pandemic. I did not count heads but I believe there were around 40 people in total on the rooftop, so it was a very small crowd. All attendees had to purchase digital tickets in groups of 2 or 4, and you were placed in a "pod" with the other members of your party to avoid sitting next to total strangers. We all had to fill out a health screening beforehand to ensure that we were not sick or recently exposed to COVID, and employees from TodayTix checked everyone's temperature before we were allowed to enter the venue. The concert took place outside but every guest was still required to wear a mask and asked to socially distance themselves from others. I had also been tested a few days prior (the perks of being a college student in NYC) so I knew with 100% certainty that I was healthy and could comfortably enjoy the evening.

Theatre is such a communal experience and while I am so appreciative of the numerous live-streamed and televised performances that have premiered in recent months, you do lose that feeling of truly being a part of something so much bigger than yourself when you are watching from your couch. It felt so surreal to once again be surrounded by an audience of people whose stories and life experiences are likely very different, but who are all deeply connected by a shared love and appreciation for the arts. The success of this concert is undoubtedly a step in the right direction and I look forward to more similar events (hopefully) happening outdoors this summer and spring while we wait for the lights of Broadway to officially come back on!

Student Blog: How TodayTix is Safely Bringing Live Theatre Back to NYC
We got to talk to Lauren afterwards, and she was so lovely and gracious.
She also complimented my platform Dr. Martens and Schitt's Creek tote bag,
so I felt like the coolest person ever.

Showfields is a hidden gem that I had no idea even existed in the city, and it was an incredible backdrop for the event but is also just a very cool space if you're looking for a spot to shop and take photos in NoHo!

If you're interested in getting more of a glimpse into my experience and seeing some footage of the venue, check out the TikTok that I made as I went through my day!

@maurainthecity

my first time experiencing live music/theatre in over a year ? thank you Lauren Patten + @todaytix + @showfields for an amazing night! ##broadway ##fyp

a?? original sound - Maura

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From This Author Student Blogger: Maura Consedine